The Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation (WHO) continue to closely monitor the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There is cautious optimism. Slightly over a month into the response, further spread of EVD has largely been contained.
Since 17 May 2018, no new confirmed EVD cases have been reported in Bikoro and Wangata health zones, while the last confirmed case-patient in Iboko developed symptoms on 2 Jun and died on 9 Jun 2018.
Public health response:
The Ministry of Health (MoH) is leading the response in the affected health zones with support from WHO and partners. Priorities include the strengthening of surveillance and contract tracing, laboratory capacity, infection prevention and control (IPC), case management, community engagement, safe and dignified burials, response coordination and vaccination. Additionally, to avoid the spread of the disease from affected provinces to non-affected provinces and to other countries, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has put into place cross-border surveillance at points of entry (neighbouring at-risk zones, provinces, countries, and at important travellers’ congregation points). WHO continues to work closely with the Ministries of Health from nine neighbouring countries to strengthen preparedness in order to mitigate the risk of international spread.
As of 19 Jun 2018, 26 countries have implemented entry screening for international travellers coming from Democratic Republic of the Congo, but there are currently no restrictions of international traffic in place. WHO continues to monitor travel and trade measures in relation to this event. A joint partnership project was initiated by WHO, IOM, IFRC, UNHCR, and other partners to reinforce cross border coordination activities between the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo, and the Central African Republic.
WHO travel advice was issued on 29th May 2018, aiming to sensitize travellers on how to reduce the risk of exposure and where to obtain appropriate medical assistance in case of EVD like symptoms after possible exposure. Considering the risk of an international traveller becoming infected with Ebola virus during a visit to the affected areas and developing the disease after returning is low, even if the visit included travel to areas where primary cases have been reported. In addition, WHO in collaboration with transport and travel partners (ICAO, IATA) are working together to increase travellers’ awareness, vigilance on board of conveyances and points of entry and stress on the importance of establishing and maintaining a public health emergency contingency plan at points of entry.
To read WHO recommendations for international travellers related to the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, click here